Georgia’s SEC Tournament Picture

The South Carolina Gamecocks could not defend their home turf last night, losing to Alabama 79-70 in Columbia, SC.

This means that the Georgia Bulldogs remain in 5th place in the SEC East since they have 4 SEC East wins to South Carolina’s 3 (which is the tie-breaker used by the SEC since both teams have 5-10 conference records).

If the SEC tournament were to start today, Georgia would have the E5 seed and would play Auburn (W4 seed).  The winner of this game would then get a date with what looks most likely to be Kentucky (E1 seed) in the second round.

South Carolina would have the E6 seed and would play Ole Miss (W3 seed) in round one, and then the winner of that game would most likely play Vanderbilt (E2 seed) in the second round.

This Saturday, the Gamecocks and Bulldogs both wrap up their seasons on the road.  Carolina goes to Vandy, and the Dawgs head to Baton Rouge to take on LSU.

Here are the possible seed scenarios that could unravel following these two games:

Georgia beats LSU; South Carolina beats Vandy —> Georgia’s seed is E6; SC’s seed is E5

Georgia beats LSU; South Carolina loses to Vandy —>  Georgia’s seed is E5; SC’s seed is E6

Georgia loses to LSU; South Carolina loses to Vandy —-> Georgia’s seed is E5; SC’s seed is E6

Georgia loses to LSU; South Carolina beats Vandy —-> Georgia’s seed is E6; SC’s seed is E5

In my opinion, the best scenario for Georgia would be to beat LSU and then take on the SEC West 4th seed.  If the Dawgs could win these two games, it would put them at 15-15 before another rematch with Kentucky.  Even if the Dawgs were to lose another close one (meaning the first game was close, not last night’s) to the ‘Cats, the NIT committee may extend an invite to Georgia since ESPN is in love with Travis Leslie and his high-flying acrobatics.

However, if Carolina were to pull off the upset in Nashville, then the Dawgs would get the SEC East 6th seed and would play either Ole Miss or Arkansas in the first round of the tournament.  With Vanderbilt waiting in the second round, and Kentucky all the way on the other side of the bracket, this scenario gives Georgia the best chance at reaching the finals of the SEC tournament (and once you get to that point all bets are off).

So what is everyone rooting for?

Kentucky Defense Smothers Georgia

The atmosphere in Stegeman Coliseum on Wednesday night was electric (especially at the beginning of the game).  The crowd was about 65% Georgia fans, and the rest were donning blue and white.

The Dawgs came out of the gates fearless, going toe-to-toe with the #3 team in the country.  When Kentucky built up a 7-2 lead to start the game, Georgia responded with a 9-0 run of their own to go up 11-7 on an emphatic Travis Leslie dunk.

Trey Thompkins hit a three-pointer with 9:36 remaining in the half to put his Bulldogs up 26-20 (their biggest lead of the game).

Then Georgia got a little careless with the ball, and two Kentucky steals and a Thompkins miss later and the game was tied at 26 apiece.

The teams traded baskets for the remainder of the half, and Kentucky went into the break with a 40-36 advantage.

And then the second half arrived…

Things didn’t start out too well for the Dawgs – they didn’t score a basket until Travis Leslie got a dunk off of a Chris Barnes pass with 16:15 remaining.

Here is what Georgia’s first seven possessions of the second half looked like – turnover, turnover, missed three, turnover, turnover, turnover, missed three.

The Dawgs only committed 6 turnovers in the entire first half, yet in three and a half minutes they committed 5.

Kentucky scored on 6 of their first 7 possessions of the second half, and by the time Leslie got his dunk the lead was up to 52-38.

Georgia never recovered.

Kentucky won the game 80-68.

When asked about the Dawgs second half effort, Trey Thompkins had this to offer, “”We got a little complacent and lazy and didn’t come out ready to fight for another 20 minutes. And they did.”

If you are playing a team of Kentucky’s caliber, coming out “complacent” or “lazy” is not really an option.

The lone bright spot for the Bulldogs was the play of Jeremy Price.  Price was not at all intimidated by Kentucky’s size inside, and he led the Bulldogs with 19 points and 6 rebounds.  This game would have been close to over before the half if not for the play by Jeremy Price.

Georgia’s two stars (Thompkins and Leslie) combined for 20 points on 8 of 26 shooting from the field.

The Dawgs are now 5-10 in the SEC, 13-15 overall.  Their next game is this Saturday at LSU.  It will be Georgia’s last chance at getting a true road win this season, and a critical game as far as the Bulldogs’ NIT effort (should Georgia lose to LSU they can just about say goodbye to any NIT hopes).

Sorry for the late post on this game…I didn’t get home from Athens till close to midnight, and the game overall didn’t sit that well (wasn’t too easy to write about).